Tolkien remarked to Warren Lewis that one of the problems with Hugo Dyson was that he had been harness galled. When first given a position, Dyson did not have a lot of work on his hands, so he worked according to whim. But when he got a position at Oxford, he was required to work a more standard, heavy load, and found it difficult because he had been, in Tolkien’s shire wisdom, harness galled.
I was concerned about that myself coming back to school. No doubt I’m not the drudge I ought to be, since I lack any sort of drudgery mysticism. I don’t value hard work for its own sake, me. A means? yes. An end? Never. But I think I have reasonably good work habits, and I understand what I’m in the midst of needs to continue ratcheting up.
One of the things that has prepared me is fast food. Not eating it, so much, as making it–though perhaps not a little of what academic success I have enjoyed can after all be explained by the number of Whoppers I’ve had. I learned while working in fast food that at first you learn to do the thing, then the circumstances become difficult and you learn to do them much better. Then you close, and every bit you can squeeze out of things to improve gets you out sooner. With that best of motivations you do your most efficient work. Same with this, I reckon.